Two Thoughts

1) Isn’t the whole thing a bit like having sex for the first time? Certainly not everybody’s experience of sex for the first time. (And perhaps this analogy only applies to the experience of voting with these trusty-yet-antiquated AVM Lever Machines that we still have here in New York.) But there’s this enormous, years-long build up; there are many emotions involved, and appeals to the emotions; there are grand promises of great things; there are ominous warnings of grave dangers; there are arguments, supplications, woo pitches. And then what it comes down to is nothing really quite like any of those things: it comes down to this somewhat awkward, somewhat private moment, in a private space with the curtains drawn, where you’re nervous, and feeling a bit unprepared in spite of whatever preparations you might have made, and you’re facing a foreign landscape, with perhaps not exactly the lighting you’d hoped for, and you’re wondering exactly which lever is the right one for you to tug at.

And then, when it’s all over, there’s this completely irrational anxiety: maybe you didn’t actually tug the right lever after all?

2) All this new technology. This Internet thing, Web thing, Web two-point-oh thing. All the constant conversation in all media about the import and the impact of the new media. Blogs! Television commercials! Streaming video! Blogs streaming video of television commercials over your social-network thing! Rumors wrapped inside a homemade subconscious fear packed inside a hate mail! My comment-box orgy! My viral thingy book! My credit-card two-point-oh tube!

And then, at the end of it all—again, maybe only in New York, maybe only with these AVM machines—it’s like walking out of the early twenty-first century and into a down-on-its-luck soda fountain in the Midwest, one run by, say, Miss Havisham, and being asked to crank the handle of a Victrola, and then to carefully drop the needle down on your favorite 78.